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Bachelor detective takes on case of two Pittsburgh boys

This story originally aired on September 19th, 2014.

PITTSBURGH - Generally speaking, if you're a kid growing up in Pittsburgh, like Jessee and Josh Lyle, the last place you ever want to be is in a courtroom, across the table, from detective Jack Mook.

Mook is a by the book, no nonsense, chew-them-up, spit-'em-out, 22-year veteran of the force.

Outside of work he's a committed bachelor, a man's man, who would never so much as let a Vidalia onion see his soft side.

For fun he hits people. He volunteers at the Steel City Boxing gym, teaching the sport to underprivileged kids.

"Most of the kids who come in this gym are street kids," said Mook. "Many of them have been born into poverty."

Kids like 11-year-old Jessee and his 15-year-old brother Josh. Long before their date in court, Jack had been working with them. He really liked these kids and he knew the feeling was mutual. So when they just stopped showing up at the gym one day, Mook went out and found the older boy.

"And he was asking me about it and then I just cried," added Josh.

What Mook didn't know -- what no one knew until that moment -- was just how bad these kids had it. They were in a foster home with foster parents who Mook says were extremely abusive and neglectful.

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Josh and younger brother Jessee walk with Jack Mook after he adopted them.

"They have had it as worse as any other kid that's ever lived in the city of Pittsburgh, living conditions wise," said Mook. "And I had enough of it."

So Jack Mook took matters into his own hands. He cashed in some favors and got the kids placed in a new home: his. It's been quite an adjustment for him.

"I'm in here trying to learn my culinary skills," Mook said. But that doesn't mean he's not loving it. "Yeah, it's awesome. It's the best thing I ever did in my life."

At least it was the best thing, until the day he went to court and did one better. He adopted the boys, and made them Mooks.

"You're a Mook. Alright? You happy? Good. Now you're going to go home and cut my grass," he told the boys.

After this story first aired in 2014, CBS News got a lot of email -- a surprising amount from women who wanted to go out with this guy.

Mary says she met him in a bar, not by emailing. But she does admit she knew he would be there.

"I am answering honestly," Mary said laughing.

They were married last summer. She came with three of her own, so now Mook and the boys are part of a Brady Bunch -- a family none of them could have ever imagined just a few years ago.

"I thought being single was fun because you don't have any responsibilities. But when you're single, you don't realize what you're missing. I'm glad I let her break through that barrier and take me away from that life," Mook said of his wife.

Sounds like it wasn't just the boys who were rescued.

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, e-mail us.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.